Soaring gas prices cause problems for many

By Gus Bode

Cost of gas brings threat of drive-offs, increase sales of safety gas caps but some businesses make no changes

A day after gas prices started rising last week, Beth Brandon, manager of O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, saw the locking gas caps that are normally in stock year round sell out.

“Gas caps, gas cans, you name it, they’re buying it,” Brandon said.


The store has been sold out since last week, but she said she is still receiving calls from people and other businesses from all over Illinois and Kentucky looking for the product, which coasts an average of $10.

“We got a bunch on order that should be in next week,” Brandon said.

As for the gas siphoning, “We haven’t had any yet, but I would expect them to start,” Carbondale Police Chief Steve Odum said.

The average price per gallon in Carbondale increased 10 cents after Friday and are slightly higher than state averages, reported the state’s gas Web site. Current gas prices in the area are somewhere between $3.09 and $3.19 a gallon.

In the wake of people clamoring to fill up after Hurricane Katrina wiped out refineries throughout the South, some gas stations have been coming up dry. For instance, the Giant City Convenience Store ran out of gas Friday and remained dry until more gas came in Tuesday.

With the higher prices, drive-offs across the state have increased, said Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association.

“Retail theft has an effect on all your prices,” Fleischli said. “That has to be made up for the company to continue to exist.”


While Carbondale gas theft has not increased, Odum did say the way police are conducting business will change.

“We’ve been notified by the city manager that we need to do things to conserve gas,” Odum said.

Now, more two-officer patrol cars will be out so fewer vehicles are in use, but the same number of officers can still respond to a call, he said.

“We’re looking everywhere we can to save every gallon we can,” Odum said.

Some are deciding not to change the way they conduct business.

Greyhound Lines Inc., a national bus service, is dealing with high gas prices internally and has no plans on passing a surcharge onto their passengers, said Anna Folmnsbee, company spokeswoman.

Gas costs are usually 3 percent to 5 percent of the company’s budget but have been closer to 5 percent with the current price of gas, she said.

Reporters Matthew McConkey and Roger Darrigrand contributed to this report.

Reporter Destiny Remezas can be reached at [email protected].